Getting Over Mom Guilt

My daughter is almost 9 months old and thankfully, I have yet to experience severe Postpartum Depression.I know there’s still time, but my fingers are crossed.

I definitely had the baby blues for a little while after my daughter was first born, but I think all moms go through that. Our hormones are running rampant. You’re emotionally, physically and mentally overwhelmed. Even if you already have children, you’ve now brought another new life into the world and the dynamic of your family has changed forever.

New moms, like me, are overwhelmed entirely. We’ve never been moms before. If we’ve dealt with children before it was on a baby sitting basis at best. Maybe you’re an aunt or a step mom or different kind of caregiver. But when you grow that tiny human inside and put your body, and sometimes life, on the line to bring it into the world it’s very different. It’s different from person to person too. None of us experience pregnancy or birth the same way twice. My birth story is probably very different from yours.

You would think, that as mothers we would realize that our experiences are all different so therefore our choices will be different. However, there are people out there that think all mothers should do things exactly the same way. We should create exact replicas of our children based on what WHO says. Because WHO pushed my little human from it’s lady bits right? There are standards. Guidelines. But there are no RULES for raising children. And yet, here we all are, feeling guilty about SOMETHING.

There is almost too much information on the internet. Add a few parenting books and some overly opinionated veteran mothers and new moms can easily be made to feel like we’re doing something terribly, terribly wrong.

Postpartum Depression is a fine line all moms walk. An ounce too much of mom guilt and we’re a puddle of tears and bad thoughts. We are genetically programmed to protect and nurture our babies and if for even one second we feel like a failure in that regards, it feels like our worlds are ending. Because our children ARE our worlds. Animals in the wild whose babies are sickly or can’t feed, will leave those babies to die. Or worse, they’ll eat them. It’s survival of the fittest in the wild. Thankfully for modern medicine, human mothers don’t have to worry about that. We can battle Postpartum with medication and counseling. When we feel that darkness creeping in we have partners and parents and loved ones to support us and pull us into the light and back to the loving snuggles of our Littles. When sickness or an inability to feed happens, we have so many options available. With humans, if there is a will, there is a way.  I may not have experienced an extreme version of PPD, but I have watched others struggle with it. I encourage anyone feeling like they are in a dark place to seek help. Always seek help. It is there for you.

This is why after almost 9 months of being a mother I find it very upsetting when people try to tell me my choices for my daughter were wrong.

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I’m fairly certain formula saved my life. It saved my daughter’s life. But I think it saved me too. I think if I had continued trying to breastfeed, and continued to fail at it, I would have ended up in a very dark place. It was heartbreaking enough to not be able to get my daughter to latch. Devastating as a new mother to know my baby was dehydrating because I couldn’t feed her properly. I hated my breasts. I thought they were obviously deformed if my baby couldn’t latch onto my nipples. It only took four days for me to breakdown. To be worn down. Maybe I was weak. Or maybe I was strong enough to admit defeat.

I spent the first 4 months of her life in a constant panic if she wouldn’t take her bottle. I thought it would happen again. I had to be constantly reminded that she was healthy and just going through a growth spurt or something. I’m finally in a place where I know I’m doing my best to feed my daughter and sometimes she just doesn’t want to eat and that’s ok, for today. Tomorrow you’re eating though yah little bugger.

If we let the judgements of others, and the overwhelming amount of information on either side of a debate, constantly get to us, we will feel guilty forever. I think we will always wonder if we’re doing what’s right. The easiest way to know if what you’re doing is right for your family, is to look at your health, and your happiness. If everyone is happy and healthy, then you are doing just fine.

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